Meet the First ARP Team!


The Pastors

Matthew Kuiken

Senior Pastor

Matt came to First ARP Church as Associate Pastor in June of 2010 after graduating from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Matt is a native of the Garden State, where he grew up with six brothers and sisters, while his dad served as a pastor of the Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church. Matt loves the Steelers, the ocean, and Carolina weather.  Matt is a graduate of Geneva College where he met Sabrina his beautiful wife. The Kuikens were blessed with a sweet daughter, Cora, soon after they came to Gastonia, in 2013 with a son, Cooper, and in 2015 with a daughter, Leona.  They also have an accomplished racing dachshund named Bandit.  Matt was called as Senior Pastor in June of 2013.  Matt’s passion is to make known the Gospel of Grace to all people and to see God’s grace transform lives.Contact Matt


Dr. Jeff Morrison

Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries and Education

Jeff Morrison joined the staff of First ARP Church in May of 2014, having served churches in the PC(USA), the EPC, and the PCA in various capacities. He is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Jeff grew up in upstate South Carolina and is a die-hard Clemson fan (GO TIGERS!!!) and enjoys reading, running, playing the guitar, and spending time with his family. He has been married to Cathy, the love of his life, for almost twenty-five years and together they have three wonderful children: Abigail, Andrew, and Ian. His ministry focus and highest joy is seeing people experience God’s radical grace and freedom as they put their hope in the finished work of Christ. Contact Jeff

Matt Carr

Associate Pastor of Young Adult Ministries and Outreach

Matt came to First ARP in July 2014, having served for eight as Director of Youth Ministry at Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Dalton, GA. Matt is a graduate of Covenant College (BA) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Matt grew up all over the South (MS, FL, GA, AL) as a pastor’s kid. He enjoys Florida State athletics (Go Noles!), the arts, and being with people. Matt has been married to the incomparable Shannon for over 10 years and they have three precious daughters, Avery, Ella, and Noa Kate. Matt’s passion in ministry is to see people liberated by the good news of Jesus Christ and equipped for the work of His Kingdom. Contact Matt

Children’s Ministry

Rebecca Maney


Rebecca has been a member of First ARP since 1980. She is now serving on the staff for a second time. A graduate of Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee; she majored in Christian Education. The first nineteen years of ministry were focused on Christian Education. After returning to our staff in January 2005, she now concentrates on Children’s Ministry (Birth-5th grade). She is married with 2 children. Contact Rebecca

Leslie Farrar

Assistant Director

Leslie has been on staff since 1999. She is married and has two sons. Leslie joined First ARP church in November 1990. For nine years she served in a lay capacity with the nursery ministry. Contact Leslie



Music Ministry

Dr. Heather Potter

Director of Music

Heather Potter serves as the Director of Music with emphasis in Youth and Children’s Music. She is also an Associate Conductor of the Charlotte Children’s Choir. Dr. Potter frequently conducts treble ensembles for music conferences and festival choirs and presents children’s choir training workshops. She has a special interest in helping children and youth realize the importance of their role as worship leaders through choral participation. Contact Heather

Dr. Kenney Potter

Director of Adult Choirs

Kenney Potter directs the adult choirs at First ARP. He is also Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Wingate University. Kenney holds degrees in music education from Florida State University and Portland State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kenney brings a passion for musical excellence to our worship. Contact Kenny

Trip McGill


Justin Bumgardner

Director of Blended Service Music








Family Ministry

Tom Williamsom


Tom is our counselor at First ARP. After serving in the business world for many years Tom attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS and received his Masters in Counseling. Since then Tom has used his gift of counseling in a number of different capacities. He now uses his extensive counseling experience to help members of First ARP and the surrounding community. Tom continues to be a critical asset to our ministry at First ARP. Tom and his wife Tari live here in Gastonia. Contact Tom

Youth Ministry

Jon Oliphant


Jon joined the staff of First ARP Church in June, 2012 after graduating from Erskine College. He is a native of Greenville, SC where his parents and brother and sister-in-law currently reside. Jon enjoys sports, being outdoors in God’s beautiful creation, reading, and talking with people. Jon’s passion is to see students confronted with and changed by the Gospel of God’s grace and transformed into lifelong followers of Jesus Christ. Contact Jon

Courtney Butler McKeown

Assistant Director

Courtney has been in Youth Ministry a total of six years, the last three of those have been at First ARP Church. The youth vision verse is Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Courtney has a heart to see youth transformed by the grace of God by making Him their greatest treasure and joy. We seek to bear lasting fruit by abiding in Jesus through loving others, teaching, discipling, serving, and witnessing. The youth ministry at ARP seeks to proclaim God’s glory, make and equip disciples, and be His presence to all peoples in all circumstances. Courtney is married to Trey, who is also in Youth Ministry, and they reside in Gastonia. Contact Courtney

Administrative Staff

Tammy Baker

Financial Administrator

Tammy began working with First ARP in January 2007. She received her B.A. in Accounting thru VCU – Richmond, VA. She handles all aspects of First ARP financial operations with assistance from the lay Treasurer ministry of First ARP. In addition to her responsibilities with the main campus she also helps manage the accounting operation with Gaston Community Church (our mission church). She considers it an honor and privilege to serve the Lord thru her responsibilities to the monetary matters of Kingdom work. She is married with one son and daughter-in law. Both her husband and son serve as pastors. Contact Tammy

Wanda Henderson

Office Administrator

Wanda joined our staff in January 2001. She prepares our bulletins and newsletters, maintains membership records, as well as many other office functions.  Wanda is married to Kenneth Henderson. They are members of Parkwood Baptist Church.  Contact Wanda

David Jennings

Facilities Administrator


Nancy Peeler

Lay Ministries Administrator

Nancy is a 30 year veteran of the First ARP staff. She transitioned from the financial office to Lay Ministries Administrator. January 2007. Through her leadership she coordinates our church membership into the many lay ministry opportunities at First ARP. She also works with the pastor to establish new ministries. Nancy is has been married for forty-seven years, has one son and two grandchildren. She is a member at Victory Hill Baptist Church. Contact Nancy

Jean Stewart

Staff Support

Jean has been a member of First ARP Church since 1950. Besides assisting the staff, she provides general aesthetical oversight for the property through ministries that she leads. She serves as Interior Design chairman, Knit One, Pray One Ministry, Birthday Card,  Library, and History Ministries. Contact Jean

Micheal Watson

Facilities Maintenance

God has blessed me in being at First ARP for several years now. I am married to Sandra and I have two adult children.  I worship at Partakers of Christ Church in Gastonia where I serve as a deacon and trustee. I enjoy Panthers football and also drive a bus for Gaston County Schools.  I love the Lord and enjoy serving him at First ARP” Contact Michael